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Additional water for Werribee River

Melbourne Water is releasing 400 million litres from Merrimu Reservoir over the coming weeks to help improve the health of the Werribee River and the animals and plants that live there.

Cormorants at the Werribee River estuary Melbourne Water is releasing 400 million litres from Merrimu Reservoir over the coming weeks to help improve the health of the Werribee River and the animals and plants that live there.

This is the second environmental release in as many months with the river receiving 600 million litres – its first ever release - in July, in line with the VEWH Seasonal Watering Plan 2012-13.

Acting Waterways Manager (Western Region) Christine Hughes said the release was planned closely with the region's water storage operator, Southern Rural Water, and reflected the area's improved water storage levels after almost two years of good rainfall.

"Extra releases during wet years, such as the one we are currently experiencing, help river ecosystems to flourish and encourage breeding, whereas small releases during periods of low rainfall are aimed at helping plants and animals to survive," said Ms Hughes.

"The water will flush sediment and salt deposits and help to correct some of the damaging effects on the river's flow and habitat as a result of almost 15 years of drought.

"Native fish and platypus populations will benefit from the improved water quality and food that's generated by the flows.

"We recently spotted a female and young male platypus in the river – the first evidence of breeding for many years."

Melbourne Water will monitor the river closely during and after the release to ensure water quality is maintained. The rate of water being released will also be adjusted if necessary.

"People may notice higher river levels near the diversion weir and water may spill over the weir," said Ms Hughes.

"This is a small but very significant release that will boost the environmental health of the river."

Further Information

Kathy Cogo, Communication Coordinator
E: Kathy.cogo@vewh.vic.gov.au
Tel: 03 9637 8854 or 0466 015 183.

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